Raleigh Review, vol. 3 (2013), pp. 50-53.

Eulogy for a Hypothetical
 by Kristen Tracey


Yes I know we didn't have a hard time with the decision itself. We're pragmatic people, Sam, you and I; hard in many ways, like the fathers we so admire (like the fathers we spent years and years trying to convince that we were sexy, strong, smart, bound for success yet cavalier about working for it, happy, but not unselfconsciously so, and rational, because that would mean we were grown-up).

            It was easy. We'd talked about it before, right? We wouldn't let accident get in the way of the fates for which we had girded and gussied ourselves. The hypothetical had seemed further away then, so improbable; now it was soon, and big, like the way the tunnel entrance goes from a dot to a dome just moments before you're to drive into it. I think...

            ...there was some relief, there? In you, or me? A sad, smothered little thing inside that breathes easier when there's freedom ahead,

but I would've felt blasphemous, saying that at such a time. Anyhow, after that I wanted to go away with you, Sam. To drink up sadness, spew out sentimentalities (when we allowed

ourselves: not too often; there is such a thing as decorum). To fuck absolutely everywhere, and I mean everywhere, both geographically and physiologically, turning ourselves on with the aphrodisiacs of:

            1) Clean sheets. The way the maid turns them down so they're smooth on your skin, that's sensual, sexy. The crisp white against puce geometrics on the bedspread. And then of course they're so damned virginal—an external descriptor, not an essential one—inviting you to despoil them. Slide inside; be enveloped. I'd say, leaning back against the pillow, I'm not wearing any underwear.

            2) Nostalgia. Impending nostalgia, really. I'd look at you as you knelt up over me to be sucked, and at the awkwardly protruding pecs, and at the little dark hairs that only grow around your nipples, and I'd be thinking: Wow, I'll miss his nipple hair. Whereas usually I'd be thinking about a wax salon.

            3) Guilt. A no-brainer—it's the sexiest thing in the world. I'd feel not just my own, but yours, like a vice in my pelvic region, urging me on.

            Thing is, my mother. The face she made when she got the call about The Castaways. Understudy? she said her voice cracking. Then a look at me, as I avidly searched for a sign of disappointment, finding which I would have hugged her, yes, while feeling pity for her, oh certainly. She swallowed everything, said Oh yes, I'd love to, I can't wait to work with you.

            Me, I cannot, quite, picture myself ever strong enough to promise: I'm going to protect another person from the things that I feel, on the theory that they (the things) are too much. Not picturing that, I couldn't sign up to do it, or to fail to do it.

Question: Is it possible that choosing not to be mother-and-father together—choosing not to send forth the unique combination of DNA, meiosis, gamete, Radegast-drunk, PBR-soaked, winter-in-Brooklyn, reverse-cowgirl, these-damned-things-dry-my-cunt-up-like-a-raisin stupidity and lust into the world as a puny declaration of our own immortality, thus admitting that we die and that our love, too, dies

—means choosing, definitively, not to be together?

            What has happened, or has anything happened, to the declaration we once made that the future didn't have to.